Practising for the Opera


The Rule of Practice is indispensable in all our operations. It is in some degree the "ultimatum" of the preceding rules, for as the proverb says, "Practice makes perfect."

Nature is said to have begun the creation of "living infinities" by this rule, for in the words of the poet,

"She tried her 'prentice hand on man,
And then she made the lasses o."—Burns.

Practice is thus divided into two kinds—the first called Practice Preliminary ; the second is denominated Practice in General .

Practising for the Profession.—"Cutting up" and "Cut and come  again," are the maxims of the surgeon; and as no trade or profession can live except by the adoption of the "cutting  system," and if a man cannot cut  a figure, he will assuredly be cut  by his acquaintance, surely the art should be thoroughly studied. As a preliminary step, Burking and body-snatching must be mastered; and then you may go snacks in a "subject," and take your "loin of pauper," "leg of pauper," or "shoulder of beggar," or "rump of beggar," or "sirloin of alderman," or "fore-quarter of citizen," or "hand and spring" of beadle or bellman. Or should your taste be fastidious, you may take a "fillet of cherrybum;" or club for a "sucking-kid." On these practise  till you are perfect; and should it so happen that any of the personages above-named should turn out to be related by consanguinity, be as stoical as a reviewer, and make no bones of cutting-up (if necessary for science) your own father.
Practising for the Army.—As shooting and slaying are the legitimate objects of this profession, you cannot begin too early. The first instrument to be used is a pea-shooter ; this is for the age P.C. previous to corderoys. The second is a pop-gun , indicating the age of breeches (and breaches). From this we arise to "sparrow-shooting," after the ruse de guerre  of the salt-box has been tried without effect. Being now grown bloody-minded, we go to that sanguiniferous-looking house at Battersea, called the Red House, (being of a blood colour, from the enormous slaughter committed near it,) and here we take lessons in pigeon-shooting. From hence to the Shooting Gallery, Pall Mall, we improve rapidly. A lieutenancy in the Guards is our next step. To this succeeds a dispute respecting  the glottis of Mademoiselle Catasquallee, and "Chalk-Farm" or "Wimbledon Common" is the result; and here, unless courage should ooze out of our fingers' ends, we may stop; our courage is apparent, and for the future we may shoot with the "long-bow" to all eternity without fear of contradiction.

Practice Preliminary  is experimental philosophy, or asking discount for a bill at 18 months; Practice in General  taking in the flats. The one resolves itself into "trying it on ," the other to "clapping it on ."

"Trying it on" is an universal principle, from the old Jew salesman who asks four pounds for a thread-bare coat and takes four shillings; or the old cabbage woman who offers 3lbs. of "taters" for two pence and sells 7lbs. for three farthings; to the prime minister who asks three  millions of taxes, and expects five . The converse of this rule is, "Don't you wish you may get it."

Practice is performed by taking "aliquot parts;" to be a man of some "parts" is therefore necessary. The application of our "parts" to the science of L.S.D. with a view to their development and perfection, is the aim of the rule, and the "practice of Practice" is to show,

That the value of a thing
Is just the money it will bring;
For money being the common scale
Of things by measure, weight and rate,
In all affairs of Church and State,
And both the balance and the weight,
The only force, the only power,
That all mankind fall down before,
Which like the iron sword of kings,
Is the best reason of all things;
The Rule of Practice then would show,
The principles on which men "grow."
What makes all doctrines plain and clear?
A few odd hundreds once a year.
And that which was proved true before,
Prove false again?—Some hundreds more.

Practising for the Ministry.—The aspirant for the "tub," "born in a garret, in a kitchen bred," commences his spiritual career by announcing to the elect that he is almost sure that he has had a call (caul), for he has heard his mother say he was born with one . He may next exhibit his buffetings with Satan by showing the marks of the beast, in the shape of double-dealing, pettifogging, shuffling, cutting and cheating; he may next venture on the new birth .

Practising for the Ministry

He now attempts open-air preaching on Kennington Common, and exhibits spiritual rabidity in good earnest. He foams at the mouth, barks and bites, and yells in his ravings; calls himself from a pig to a dog, and from a dog to no gentleman. What is he? "A bundle of filthy rags," "a whited sepulchre," "a cancerous sore," a "sink of pollution," "a mass of corruption," "a cesspool," "a common sewer," "a worm," "a scorpion," "a snake," "a spider," "an adder." He may also charge himself with murder, abomination, witchcraft, lying, and every vice denounced in the Decalogue, on the principle of "the greater the sinner the greater the saint."

Having thus initiated himself into the spiritual fraternity, he may write a work to prove that the "Church damns more souls than she saves."[6] He then mounts the rostrum as a burning and a shining light. He deals in brimstone, wholesale, retail, and for exportation. Now he unites his spiritual with secular power, and mixes parliamentary logic with divinity, electioneering squibs with "Hymns of the Chosen;" makes Lucifer cuckold, and swears himself his true liege man on the cross-buttock of a radical candidate. He now receives the degree of D.D. from a Scotch university, for 7 l. 13 s. 6 d., and begins to feel as "big as bull-beef;" his lank hair curls; he has red velvet cushions to his tub; he begowns and belappets himself; he looks on all sides for an half-idiot heiress, or infatuated widow in a state of fatuity, and marries. Thus he jumps into his bishopric, makes religion a "good spec," till it is found out he has had "two wives" before, and a variety of miniature portraits of himself:—and thus ends his Practice.

[6]A favourite maxim with a certain reverend city orator, formerly a "grocer," and still a "grosser" man than his neighbours.
Practising at Exeter Hall.--Hulla, Boys, Hulla


Grand Chorus

Hulla boys, Hulla boys,
Let the "belles" ring;
Hulla boys, Hulla boys,
So the Whigs sing.
The Council of State
In their heads have a crotchet,
In spite of lawn sleeves,
In spite of the rochet;
To put for a salvo
The nation in tune,
By keeping them singing
From July till June.
And who can sweet music
A moment despise?
For singing is better,
Far better than sighs.
To reconcile Chartists
To duties on corn,
We'll give them a flourish
Or two on the horn.
To strike all the grumblers
In factories mute,
We'll give them a solo
Each day on the flute .
Should the multitude ask,
By petition, a boon,
We'll grant them reply
Through our "Budget" bassoon .
And when they shall sicken,
And when they shall fret,
We'll soothe them like lambs,
With our State clarionet .
Should they from their chains
Endeavour to wriggle,[5]
We'll keep them in bonds
By a waltz on the fiddle .
They shall not despair,
Nor hang, drown, or strangle,
We Whigs will strike up
Our tinkling triangle .
And should this not do,
In arms should they come,
We'll frighten them soon
By a roll of the drum !
[5]I can't make wriggle rhyme to fiddle. I have sent it to the prince of wrigglers, Lord B——, and to the prince of fiddlers, Mr. P—, but they refer me to Mr. Wordsworth.—T. W.